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Thinking to reinstall air conditioning in my 67


Mister Fab
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Hi all,

 

One of the previous owners has removed the air conditioning from the car.

 

I was wondering what I needed to reinstall it.

 

It seems the evaporator tubes have been cut, the compressor and condenser removed.

 

Have any of you already done it before?

 

The radiator installed is aluminum with electric motors. Will it be a problem to install a new condenser?

 

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Edited by Mister Fab (see edit history)
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I was just going to ask where you are located, but see that you're in France.  That will make things more difficult, as the easiest solution would be to find a parts car.  There are a few advertisers in the ROA magazine ("The Riview") who claim to have A/C parts.  New A6 compressors are available.  My guess is that you'll need a new 3-row radiator, condenser, evaporator, receiver/dryer and associated hoses & lines.  Used parts may also require refurbishing or repair (or may be beyond repair).  It looks like you are also missing the original fan shroud.

 

Given where you are located, the number of missing components and the likelihood that even an original system re-installation would probably require R-134A in place of R-12, you may want to consider an aftermarket system like the ones offered by Vintage Air.

 

https://www.vintageair.com/

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37 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

I would go with Vintage Air in your situation as well. Mainly for the technical support. As the designers and builders they will be better support than a bunch of parts and a shop manual.

Bernie, love your style. I was thinking that mobile AC is rather straight forward. Read the book, intuitively know the little ins and outs of the vacuum system, the refrigeration cycle does not need to be known ( it’s really not important), no need for goofy gauges, vacuum pumps, dye, sniffer, dry nitrogen, the right oil for the A6, and the list can go on. R12 is easy to find at low prices. Rebuilding old R12 hoses just in case you change over to 134a is easy enough to do. For the guy or gal that is not mechanically inclined and a newbie can possibly get it an original AC to work on an old Buick with persistence, resilience, and a few bucks. ( Bernie this was meant to make fun of real hard job for a guy like me.) For regular guys this AC in a 63 zRiviera is a piece of cake....probably.

Stay Well

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MrFab, I reinstalled the original AC in a 1963’Buick Riviera. I am no mechanic nor familiar with the refridgeration cycle. After 3 summers AC cold air was achieved. 
Had I to do over again I would examine the cost of having a new aftermarket AC installed. You could very well come out spending less by having someone else install a new aftermarket AC for you.

It is possible with help from the guys on the forum who are truly expert in the AC business. There is a measurable investment in the right tools. There is a significant investment in time reading about the science, art, and installation of the AC. Should you be in a hurry to have an AC system up and running it may truly be less money to have someone install an after market AC for you.

Turbinator

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As far as an aluminum radiator & electric fans go it depends largely on the size & CFM output of the fans.  On the radiator being aluminum it needs to have at LEAST 2, better 3, rows of 1" tubes or 2 rows of 1 1/4" tubes. IF the electric fans are up to par & draw air through the radiator & not push air from the front a shroud will not be nec. as most electric fans kinda have a shroud built in.

 

Tom T.

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Thank you all for your answers.

I had seen the vintageair solution, but I really would like to reinstall as the original.

Mechanic is not a problem, ordering from the US neither. I already have a long list from Rockauto, Cars, ,Rivicentral for original parts ;)

And I also have the two volumes of the Riviera Chassis Bible :)

At the moment I am repairing all the dashboard connections and gauges, so all the wiring / depression will be ready to reinstall the A/C

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The reason I mentioned the fan shroud was in case you were really committed to an original, as-built restoration.  As Telriv said, as long as the aftermarket radiator and electric fans are capable of shedding the necessary BTUs, they could be retained and wouldn't be a concern with an aftermarket A/C installation.

 

With the dashboard removed as it is now, you're really in a position to go either way (OEM or aftermarket).  One more thing to consider is whether your car originally had the automatic climate control system (I forget what Buick called it) or the typical manual heat & A/C controls.  The automatic control system was problem-prone 50 years ago and getting one working properly today could be difficult.  If OEM is your goal you'll be better served using the manual control system.

 

By the way, was the tachometer original to the car, or are you adding it?  I've never seen one of those in a 2nd Gen Riviera .  Probably not terribly practical based on it's size and location, but pretty cool nonetheless.  I'll bet everyone on the forum would like to see more pictures of your project!  ;)

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@EmTee
You have noticed my tachometer!

It is home made.

The clock was broken, and I didn't want to install a big tachometer.

So I bought a small one, disassembled it, created a new box using 3D printing, designed a new graphic with inkscape to keep the original design, and assembled all parts.

 

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18 hours ago, Mister Fab said:

It is home made.

 

Wow -- that's great!  I thought that you might have adapted it from a different GM car of the era, but what you did is really resourceful and the end product looks like it is original to the car!  I've been contemplating a similar project on my '64 Grand Prix.  The original owner installed a set of optional rally gauges using a second factory binnacle.

 

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Since the second binnacle has 3 gauge pods and the rally gauges included temperature and oil pressure, the third space was for the clock.  Since the original dash includes a clock he filled the open space with an altimeter, but aside from filling the hole, it isn't useful and doesn't match the other gauges.  I'd like to do what you did and modify a vacuum gauge to replace the altimeter.  Seeing what you did and the awesome result has inspired me to get going on my project!

 

By the way, I agree with RivNut -- you could certainly sell those as either finished tachometers, or in kit form.  ;)

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someone needs to go out to the local vintage salvage yard and scoop up all of the bezels that came on the 63/64 cars that did not have a clock in them.  No little protrusion for the clock stem. Just a clean round bezel.  

 

1963 Buick Lesabre interior dash panel speedometer gauge instrument cluster trim

 

IF I put the o/d trans in my '64, I'm going to put a shift indicator in that place.  Picture of Hot Rod 2 1/8" Gear Indicator, Overdrive

 

I need to see who makes these gauges for a 1969 Chevelle SS and see if they can make one for a Riviera.  Same configuration as the Riviera, but includes a tach and all gauges, no "idiot" lights.

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Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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Thank you for your comments!

 

I think everything is possible in conversion. But it might be difficult to make the conversion for one year model or another in particular, because you need to take measurements on the original parts before modeling them on a 3D software (I use Fusion 360), and also of the new mechanical parts you want to insert. 

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all,

I didn't post about that project for long, but I was working on other things on the 67, like fixing all the depression system and the Electro Cruise.

 

I am still gathering informations to reinstall the original A/C.

 

One of my friends gave me a compressor he had in his garage. Not from a Buick, but it looks similar to what I have seen on Rivs. Can someone tell be if it can be installed?

 

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Posted (edited)

Your compressor is correct.

The brackets are not correct.

 

Any ‘67 - ‘69 Buick V8 donor should have the brackets.

 

Your intake manifold must have the bolt hole for the cross brace.

 

 

Edited by PWB (see edit history)
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Thank you PWB and RivNut for your answers.

I'll have to check the intake manifold, as it is an Edelbrock installed by previous owner.

As All the AC system has been removed probably a very long time ago, I have none of the original brackets, hoses or radiator, but the compressor is a good start 😉

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Mister Fab are you sure the compressor is good? Nothing worse than going through all that work obtaining parts and putting it all together, charging the system only to find out the compressor is bad or is puking refrigerant around the shaft seal.  

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Very common for the shaft seal to leak. I think they were designed that way from the factory although the more modern seals seal better.  IF the ports on the back have been open for who knows how long I'll  all most guarantee it's locked up.  Sometimes even when they are sealed properly they still have a tendency to get rusty inside &  lock up.

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My friend took the compressor out of a 73 El Camino, and it was still working 6 months ago, but I will check.

Reconditioning kits must be existing for those, am I right?

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Posted (edited)

Less cost to buy a remanufactured unit vs sending it out for rebuild especially since you don't have an original-to-car date coded compressor you are trying to save. Rockauto shows complete A/C Delco reman with clutch for $184. I personally would not take a chance on a used compressor but that's just me. I am not a professional by trade but have totally rebuilt from scratch a hand full of 66-67 Buick A/C systems over the years. My experience was when dealing with unknown condition A/C systems or one that has been open to atmosphere for a long time, every component should be sent out for testing and internal cleaning or replaced with new. I always leaned towards sending original parts for rebuild, cleaning and/or testing vs buying new to maintain original appearance and fitment when possible. 

I have used these folks for decades with excellent results. 

https://www.originalair.com/

 

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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I understand your point of view, the problem for me is that I live in France, and shipping+taxes more than double the price of everything I buy, so I try to minimize the cost when I can.

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O.@Mister Fab I dug the air conditioning compressor bracket (along with the power steering pump bracket) out of my storage shed.  These parts are cast aluminum and are not heavy, maybe 2 pounds combined.  Here are a couple of pictures.  If you're interested, send me a PM and we can discuss price (cheap, I have no use for them) and possible ways to ship.IMG_20210515_153210722.jpg.d6bca425e7428d989a1712bb55c3ac4e.jpgIMG_20210515_153154169.jpg.a33dc177f5a5b014a7a241b7ef0f69ae.jpg

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The breaks my heart. How many times have I seen people put upwards of $50K in a restoration, but either completely ignore the factory A/C or do with this jerk did? And how many more times have I seen nice cars for sale that include this: "A/C needs to be recharged." Well I say to them THEN RECHARGE IT!  The truth of the matter is the A/C needs much more than a simple recharge but the seller is trying to establish plausible deniability. When the buy finds out later the A/C needs $2000 worth of work! 

 

A restoration is not complete until the factory A/C is working as new. Even if it is a trailer queen for car shows, point off for everything that does not work, including the clock and the turn signal cancelling cam. 

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Posted (edited)

I once restored a 1963 Wildcat with console and floor shifter. It was a 2 door hardtop but no A/C. I bought a junk 1963 Wildcat 4 door hardtop with A/C. I cannibalized it for the A/C. I had to switch out dashes, cut and weld firewalls and the whole deal. I ended up with a car that looked like and worked like it had factory A/C. Of course I am a stickler for the interiors to be original, so I found the correct vinyl and had the dielectric heat seems reproduced too.  I think I would seek out a junk 1967 to 1970 Buick to do the same. But YOU would not have to do any dash or firewall work!  

Edited by SKATTERBRANE (see edit history)
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@Mister Fab You might look into contacting the Riviera owners up in Denmark.  There are a lot of them and perhaps someone in that group would know of the whereabouts of a parts car that would have the brackets that you need.

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On 5/17/2021 at 9:13 AM, RivNut said:

O.@Mister Fab I dug the air conditioning compressor bracket (along with the power steering pump bracket) out of my storage shed.  These parts are cast aluminum and are not heavy, maybe 2 pounds combined.  Here are a couple of pictures.  If you're interested, send me a PM and we can discuss price (cheap, I have no use for them) and possible ways to ship.IMG_20210515_153210722.jpg.d6bca425e7428d989a1712bb55c3ac4e.jpgIMG_20210515_153154169.jpg.a33dc177f5a5b014a7a241b7ef0f69ae.jpg

I found out that these brackets are the wrong profile for clearance under a Riviera hood.  I’ve notified Mr Fab. If anyone needs them for a full bodied car, contact me. (Cheap - they’re just in the way)

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9 minutes ago, RivNut said:

@Mister Fab You might look into contacting the Riviera owners up in Denmark.  There are a lot of them and perhaps someone in that group would know of the whereabouts of a parts car that would have the brackets that you need.

You happen to have any doors for a 1967 riviera ? Or can you point me in the right direction..located in MARYLAND 

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Best thing to do is look in the classifieds in the Riview, the magazine of the ROA.  EEvery person selling will list a city or area in which they have their parts.

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@Kink56I agree with you that a restoration is not complete untill all the original accessories are not workink as out of the factory.

At the moment, I am fighting with cruise control not working and bringing back A/C as original.

 

@RivNut I have been contacted through Facebook by someone who might have the brackets. Thank you for your support anyway ;)

 

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